Experts Share Insights on Disaster Preparedness for Barangays at First-ever KomunidadXchange Fireside Chat

Komunidad kicked off its quarterly KomunidadXchange Fireside Chat series last March 29 with its panel on Empowering Resilient Communities with Early Warnings in Makati City, where dozens of attendees, ranging from local government workers to young stakeholders, joined in the conversation.

“Komunidad XChange is a series of informal exchanges, networking activities and knowledge-sharing. It’s more like sharing insights, best practices and effective approaches combining technology and local knowledge of our stakeholders,” explains Komunidad Impact Director Kaye Sangalang.

Three more installments of the Fireside Chat series are slated for the rest of the year. Sangalang said that in the succeeding events, they “hope to bring more people to participate and join the conversation as we dive in from a community perspective focusing on building resilience in the education sector (or agriculture sector).”

Panelists for the first installment of the fireside chat series included League of Corporate Foundations’ Committee on Disaster Resilience’s Fred Dalumpines, Earth Shaker Associate Vice President for Meteorological Sciences Division Marielle Anne Alemania, Bike Scouts Project founder Myles Delfin and Marikina City DRRM Office chief Dave David.

Girlie Lopez of Build Change moderated the hour-long panel and the open forum that followed.

Diverse perspectives were brought to the table, with panelists from the private sector, youth-oriented groups, the government and community-led groups sharing their insights. The conversation covered a wide range of topics, including the challenges of engaging local communities and the technologies that can benefit various sectors.

The panel discussion also delved into earthquake preparedness, particularly in light of the looming threat of “The Big One” that Filipinos constantly worry about, as well as the recent devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria, claiming tens of thousands of lives.

David has been working as a DRRM officer for Marikina City, part of which lies along a fault line. He believes that while people cannot prevent disasters, communities can always prepare for them.

“From our experience in Marikina, we simplify our approach. We have three core competencies: institutionalizations, whole of government approach, and proactive approach. All of these three are connected to each other,” he said, adding that in the city, which has been looked upon as a model LGU, their disaster protocol involved everybody.

With everyone taking part, Delfin said that community effort can be maximized. With the Bike Scouts Project already optimizing this power by mobilizing volunteers during disasters, he has seen firsthand how “the best early warning system is the eyes of everyone in the community.”

Meanwhile, Dalumpines, who has been working with businesses, pointed out that “we use the whole of society approach since it should be a participation from the government and different sectors – particularly the vulnerable sectors since they are the ones being left out.”

Earth Shaker’s Alemania added that it is important to let the people understand the need for protocols and how important they are so they can be mobilized. “For the side of the youth, we can effectively and efficiently implement community-based DRRM if people can appreciate why they need to do the protocols being practiced,” she added.

These insightful conversations are just the start of a year-long discussion with community leaders and industry experts to continue discussions towards institutionalizing an #EarlyWarningsForAll movement.

Evan Ragudon from the Liga ng mga Barangay – Makati Chapter said the discussions from Komunidad Xchange Fireside Series will be a great help to us in responding to calamity and disaster. “This is a big help to the community,” he added.

KomunidadXchange aims to engage all sectors of society through this series of talks, emphasizing that climate data is essential not only for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management but also for agriculture, tourism, and education.

Komunidad will host three more Fireside Chats, the second of which will focus on agriculture and be held on June 28. The third and fourth installments of the talks will be held on September 27 and December 20, respectively, covering eco-tourism and education.

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